For the 3rd day in a row, a fast-moving stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field.
Additional displays are possible tonight as the solar wind continues to blow faster than 500 km/s.
A CME is coming
A dark filament of magnetism snaking across the sun’s southern hemisphere blew up on Feb. 20th.
The eruption split the sun’s atmosphere, hurling a CME toward Earth and creating a “canyon of fire.”
The glowing walls of the canyon trace the channel where the filament was suspended by magnetic forces, before it became unstable and blew.
From end to end, the structure stretches more than 400,000 km.
Soon after the filament erupted, coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) saw a cloud of debris billowing away from the sun:
This coronal mass ejection (CME) is not heading directly for Earth. Nevertheless, it is going to hit.
NOAA computer models suggest that the western edge of the cloud will sideswipe our planet on Feb. 23rd or 24th.
The glancing blow could cause minor G1-class geomagnetic storms and high latitude auroras in the hours after impact.
Now subscribe to this blog to get more amazing news curated just for you right in your inbox on a daily basis (here an example of our new newsletter).